According to ESPN, on Thursday Howard’s legal team filed a motion to dismiss the charges before it goes to trial, again asserting that the sex between the men was consensual.
From Baxter Holmes’ reporting, Howard asserts in court that the interaction between the two men was just too good for Harper to not want seconds. According to Holmes, Howard’s legal team asserted that messages between the two men reveal:
“The explicit messages not only show consent but also that Mr. Harper was initiating some of the sexual contact. Mr. Harper not only invited the initial experience, but tried to initiate a second encounter because the first was so enjoyable.”
This continues the legal argument that Howard and his team have put forward, that the sex between the two men — and Howard has not-so-tacitly revealed that it happened — was agreed upon by both parties.
Howard’s lawyers further claim, according to ESPN, that this lawsuit by Harper is simply to take advantage of the closet that exists for so many gay and bisexual men in professional sports. From Howard’s challenge to the lawsuit, as reported by Holmes:
“Mr. Harper filed the instant lawsuit as revenge and in an attempt to tarnish Mr. Howard’s reputation, ‘get [his] attention,’ and fulfill the threat of telling the whole world about the private, consensual night.”
Howard is an NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, who played for seven different NBA franchises.
Last month, Outsports co-founder Jim Buzinski talked about whether these legal wranglings define Howard as an “out athlete.”
With every assertion that he had intimate relations with this man, that question continues to grow.
Meanwhile, the sports world, and in particular Stephen A. Smith and people around the NBA, will be watching.